Review: Rope at South Hill Park

Review: Rope at South Hill Park

Described in the programme as a ‘reversed whodunit’, this captivating thriller was the Studio Theatre Company’s long awaited 50th production, the 49th being over 18 months ago due to lockdown.

From the original 1929 Patrick Hamilton play and not the Alfred Hitchcock 1948 update, ‘Rope’ is a very compelling and enjoyable character study of a group of disparate acquaintances at a party one evening in 1920s London.

Hosted by two Oxford university students with a murderous secret that the audience are privy to from the opening scene, we see, as the story unfolds, traits such as deception, self-belief, anxiety, ignorance, suspicion and realisation played out by a very talented cast.

Director Gemma Roch’s tight direction ensured that what the play lacked in action was more than made up with focused characterisation.  Alex Daykin and Patrick Hannawin as the students, Brandon & Granillo, and Ian Crump as Rupert Cadell, a former professor of theirs, excelled in their parts with a range of mixed emotions and confident delivery of intense dialogue of the time.

This was a fitting 50th celebration and congratulations must be afforded to ‘Rope’ Producer and Studio Theatre Company founder, Luke Burton, who set up the company in 2011, for not only reaching this milestone, but for keeping community theatre active through one of the toughest ten years for the local arts scene.  Here’s to Production 51 and beyond.

Rope is at South Hill Park until June 26.